As is the case in many economies around the world, women entrepreneurs in Nigeria are faced with significant barriers to scaling up their businesses. Access to affordable resources can be difficult, marketing channels may not be apparent and training opportunities can be limited. Our research, Mobile Value Added Services: A Business Growth Opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs, shows that 93% of women entrepreneurs surveyed in Nigeria were willing to use a valued added mobile service to address the core challenges they face in their business and 75% felt that addressing these challenges would lead to a significant increase in the value of their business.
In August 2012, we launched an award-winning mobile service in Nigeria with the ExxonMobil Foundation, Nokia and MTN Nigeria. The service, called Business Women, consisted of a series of messages containing tips and training on business skills, delivered via SMS to mobile phones. The messages were specifically tailored for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria and reached over 70,000 women. The service was also rolled out in Indonesia and Tanzania. In total, our Business Women learning tool reached over 100,000 women.
In 2014, an independent evaluation of the Business Women service, conducted by Michigan State University, found that 90% of subscribers felt the service gave them “practical guidance” on making their businesses grow and offered an “inexpensive way to become better-informed businesswomen”.
In addition to the Business Women learning tool, the Foundation also worked in partnership with Nigeria’s Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) to provide training and coaching throughout five states of the Niger Delta to further develop the capacity of 2,000 women entrepreneurs. YTF delivered hands-on classroom and online training sessions that focused on building crucial business skills including financial literacy, marketing and supply chain management.
“Mobile phones serve as one of the most exciting examples we have of the transformational benefits of technology today. Mobile value added services offer us a new portal through which to address an ever-increasing range of needs.”
– Cherie Blair, Founder
The ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation. Since 2005, the ExxonMobil Foundation has helped women in developing countries fulfil their economic potential and drive economic and social change in their communities. To date, it has invested nearly $100 million to help community-based and global partners implement programs directly benefiting tens of thousands of women in over 90 countries.
Founded in 2000 as an international non-profit organisation, Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) has a particular emphasis on establishing knowledge at the grassroots level and working closely with communities to develop effective, appropriate and sustainable technology-based outcomes. YTF’s mission is to transform communities into enriched learning environments where the appropriate use of technology creates opportunities for marginalised people.
With over 35 million subscribers and counting, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited is the largest subsidiary in the MTN Group – Africa¿s leading mobile telephony company with operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
The Foundation for Social Change is a non-profit organization that facilitates collaboration between the private sector, public sector and civil society to make a “business case” for supporting social issues that transform our world.[/tab_pane]